The Daily Mail, 16 May 2009 by Paul Caffrey
AN INNOCENT teacher found not guilty of sexually abusing pupils wept openly as he was told he can go back to the post he was not allowed to hold for the past 12 years.
However, Patsy McGlinchey, who was supported by his wife Dympna in court yesterday, still cannot return to work.
Despite yesterday's decision, he will have to wait for an inquiry, which he requested, to be carried out.
He has insisted on his innocence all along.
The teacher, in his early 50s, was acquitted back in 2002 of abusing a number of pupils in the Limerick special needs school where he taught.
But he has not been allowed to teach there since 1997.
The married father's battle to go back to work started when he was acquitted of the charges, following a 17-day criminal trial in 2002.
The teacher has remained suspended on full pay for nearly 12 years and had to go to the High Court to fight to have his name cleared once and for all.
Outside court yesterday, Mr McGlinchey's wife Dympna McGlinchey declared: 'We just want to say we're very, very happy with the outcome today.' Mr McGlinchey, with an address in Newport, Co. Tipperary, sobbed uncontrollably with relief yesterday and had to leave the courtroom half an hour before the settlement was formally announced to the court.
The High Court was then told that the teacher and the school had reached a resolution in the case, and that the court could make an order quashing the suspension.
Peter Finlay SC, for the teacher, said that he and the school had agreed to hold an 'independent inquiry in private', and that both sides were in agreement that Mr McGlinchey 'should not return to work pending the outcome of that inquiry'.
Mr McGlinchey, who is married with children, took the school, St Vincent's in Lisnagry, Co. Limerick, a private Daughters of Charity school funded by the Department of Education, to the High Court.
Mr Finlay told the court this week that his client wanted to be reinstated so that his good name and reputation could be fully restored, and described what his client had been through as 'one of the worst injustices I have ever seen'.
The teacher's senior counsel told the judge that the terms of agreement would remain confidential, adding that it was 'not an easy case'.
Court Quashes Teacher's Suspension
RTE NEWS Friday, 15 May 2009 22:16
A Limerick teacher who has been suspended from his job at a special needs school for the last 12 years has had his suspension quashed after reaching a settlement in the High Court.
Patrick McGlinchy was suspended from his job in 1997 following allegations he had abused a number of pupils in the special needs school.
He always denied the claims and was cleared nearly seven years ago of sexually abusing pupils at the school and had applied for a High Court order reinstating him to his employment.
The High Court heard that as part of the settlement, an independent inquiry will now be held in private and that he should not return to work pending the outcome of that inquiry.
Speaking outside the court his wife, Dympna McGlinchy, said they were very happy with the outcome and that it had been a very tough 12 years for the family.
The High Court heard that an investigation by the HSE in 1997 into the allegations concluded he was a risk to children but, in 2002, he was acquitted by a jury of sex abuse charges following a 19-day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Witnesses who gave evidence at the trial on his behalf included a large number of teachers and two parents of the children he had taught.
Despite the acquittal, Mr McGlinchy remained suspended on full pay for nearly 12 years.
His counsel Peter Finlay SC said the case involved 'one of the worst injustices I have ever seen' with his client first suspended on 5 March 1997, after which garda and HSE inquiries took place.
The HSE had wrongly decided his client was a risk to children, Mr Finlay said.
Mr Finlay added that a senior HSE social worker who later carried out an assessment of the teacher had concluded Mr McGlinchy was not a danger to children.